A room of its own

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This past week, I visited the Smithsonian Museum of American Art’s “The Art of Video Games” exhibit for a second time, and I’ve read so much criticism of the exhibit that I’d like to start off with what it does right. Having video games on featured display at a major U.S. art museum is undeniably … Continue reading

Stories for all your various summer needs

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While summer reading lists tend to put one in mind of trashy paperbacks stashed away in canvas bags for beach reading, not many of us will spend the entire summer in a folding chair. Thus, a good set of summer reading suggestions will include options suitable for a variety of situations and pursuits. Whether you’re … Continue reading

Three meditations on Journey

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The first time I played Journey, I was a sojourner in a strange land. I started alone, climbing a sand dune to catch my first glimpse of a mountain with a brilliant light glowing at its peak. As I walked toward the mountain, I encountered a glowing mark which wrapped itself around my neck and … Continue reading

The world doesn’t end

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After 50 very pleasant hours playing BioWare’s Mass Effect 2, I’m at something of a loss to make sense of what just happened. Perhaps it’s useful to begin with my description of those 50 hours as “pleasant,” which isn’t quite correct. There was a tremendous — and very interesting — tension at work during my … Continue reading

Wishlist: The Casual Gamer

XBox 360 with Kinect Last year, the PS2 was my console recommendation, based on the assumption that “Casual Gamer” readers are either relative non-gamers, or already own whatever console(s) they really want. This year, coming to the end of the lifespan of the current generation of consoles, prices are down, game libraries are deep, and … Continue reading

Diary of a Casual Gamer: year one

Sometimes, it’s possible to be too clever. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it’s possible to be too fond of what one views as one’s own cleverness. As an example, let me put forward the column “Diary of a Casual Gamer,” for which as much as I enjoy the title, and … Continue reading

Let me tell you a story

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Video games are a troublesome medium. Rogert Ebert, famously, isn’t convinced that they’re art. Even those of us who love video games are often apologetic. Yes, many video games are just terrible. Yes, it’s true that no video game can stand up to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, or Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, or Ulysses. … Continue reading

Books, brooms, and bad video games

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I spent a number of years working in a bookstore in the early 00s, starting shortly after the release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in 2000. For a character who has appeared in books, films, toys, stickers, a theme park, and who knows what else, it’s always amusing for me to remember … Continue reading

No more LEGOs

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I’m done. That is, I’m not quite done, but I’m done. I own several of the Traveler’s Tales LEGO video games. I’ve played the first two LEGO Star Wars games on my GameCube. I unlocked all of the characters, collected all of the mini-kits, earned True Jedi on every level, and unlocked all of the … Continue reading

Sucked in

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This is not a post about Portal 2, even though I’ve been playing the game so much that my wife has started to make cracks about me loving the game more than her. (It’s not true, just in case you’re wondering. I’ve been chasing trophies in the single-player game while I wait for the PSN … Continue reading